Saturday, I finally got to taste some of the "new" powder up on Mt. Hood. Unfortunately, most of it has been hard-packed by fellow sliders and rained on, but the top was still a little powdery. What was more surprising, actually, was the size of the crowd. We arrived late (3:PM) after a slow morning and tail-dragging departure. The parking lot was a virtual moonscape of unplowed and cratered snowpack with cars parked all over the place. I figured the parking guys were getting their own ski-on because there were none to be seen and there were new arrivals clogging the main driveway with their turn signal indicating that they wanted a parking space... which was actively being used by someone who was still removing snow clothes and had yet to stow their gear. Ridiculous. That may work at CostCo where the aisles are wide and loading your car can take a couple of minutes. There was barely room to get in/out of a spot much less drive around a spot-lurker, and unlike CostCo, no one is in a big ol' hurry to load & go after skiing all day. Oi! So close you can see skiers on the slopes, but you just can't get there. By the time we got to the lifts, it was past 4, and the night-ticket folks were joining the group at the base. The lines were long, but they were well managed. I concluded that the parking attendants were helping shepherd skiers, because there were 2 or 3 lift attendants for each lift instead of the usual 1.
After all the waiting, the snow was fantastic. Fast, but with a touch of powder so you could turn. No ruts, but no soft powder-piles to land on either. Basically, it was dangerous and fast enough to hurt yourself, but responsive enough so you could push your limits. We played until about 9 and headed off the mountain. The drive back down was peril-less, but the snow line had moved further downhill. Its been snowing up there on and off ever since, so we're hoping for another night-run on Wednesday. Pray for a low snow-line. :)
|just above the snow line |
looking south off Hwy26
On the way up, we made bets on where the snow-line would be, and I guessed Silence Rock. I should probably explain what or where that is. When the ski-bus drivers haul a load of kids up to the mountain, the screaming and shouting from 40+ kids finally reaches head-ache stage around the same point in the drive. This point is on Highway 26 after entering the Wilderness Area but before reaching Government Camp (aka "Govy" to the locals). There is a large mound on the right side of the road as the highway turns left around a canyon (the picture on the right was taken just after passing Silence Rock). At this point in the ski-bus drive, the driver yells "silence rock!" and all the kids are expected to be completely silent as the bus passes this mound of earth. The silence can be broken after passing the next road sign sign. Now, as adults driving up to ski, we see Silence Rock as our opportunity to be silent in respect of the mountain, and of the beautiful nature in which we find ourselves.
So, when I was able to mount some enthusiasm, I fiddled around with the bus. I re-routed the engine harness so there is less stress on the temperature sensor cable. Then, I played around with the temperature sensor and I think I was able to get is re-seated. I've re-filled the coolant bottle, pumped coolant by squeezing different hoses and bled the air bubbles out. I've also determined that the running pressure for the coolant system is 18psi. Instead of driving around and looking for puddles, I'm going to go about this a little differently. Using my Mity-Vac, I'm going to fill the vacuum reservoir bottle with coolant, and create 18psi pressure in the system through the bleed port (I'll take a picture while I'm testing and post it later). If the system can hold 18psi, I've fixed the problem. If not, then, there's a leak and I need to find it. I hope I was able to resolve it. If not, at least I didn't discover it as I was trying to get back for more snow.
Last, I just learned that my middle school science teacher passed away after a short illness. He was a Sgt Major drill instructor with the Marines before he taught science at the military school. He really knew how to keep 25 boys in line when surrounded by chemicals and other equally interesting (and dangerous) things. While gruff on the exterior, his heart was gold, and he only wanted the best and brightest possible futures for all of those left in his charge. Rest in Peace, Sarge.
More next time, and thanks, as always, for following along.